By Kelsey Hilmes

The start of a new school year has begun, and with it we each bring a set of goals and responsibilities for the months ahead. As first-years who want to save money or as juniors who just realized they need to pay their rent, finding work in college is a common goal among all college students.

According to the United States’ National Center for Education Statistics, 79 percent of college students in 2008 worked while enrolled in college full time. Recent trends indicate that number is growing.

While job hunts can be daunting, there are lots of resources available to kick off your search. Here are a few tips for finding work.

  1.  Visit the Career Connections Opportunities Board
    As the official site for job listings on campus, the opportunities board includes volunteering, work study, on-campus and off-campus jobs as well as internship positions. You can also submit your application on the board. At the beginning of the school year, the job listings may focus exclusively on one kind of job — teacher’s assistants, lab graders, assistants in the music department — but more jobs will be posted throughout the year. I recommend checking back once a week.
  2. Don’t refuse off-campus jobs
    There are lots of great places in Parkland and Tacoma that hire students who qualify for work study. In the case of Federal Work Study, these positions must be for a non-profit or a company that works to serve its community. The funds for Federal Work Study comes from the federal government, which means that it helps both you and your employer. Even if you do not qualify for work study, off-campus jobs can offer you a closer tie with your community and encourage you to go out and enjoy Tacoma.
  3. Get help with your resume, cover letter and interview
    The office of Career Development, which works under Career Connections, offers resume drop-in hours from 3-5 p.m. Monday through Friday in Ramstad 112. They will help you edit or write your resume to highlight your strengths as a candidate. You can also visit the Ramstad Commons to set up an appointment for a mock interview where you can practice answering the most common interview questions.
  4. Keep your eyes and ears open
    There are lots of opportunities on campus and in your areas of interest for paid work positions. Being involved in organizations across campus can help you learn about these opportunities and give you a leg-up as a candidate. For example, if you are interested in finance and investing, joining the Mary Lund-Davis Student Investment Fund (SIF) will give you experience in choosing stocks to invest in. SIF started with a $25,000 donation from alum Mary Lund-Davis in 1982, and under the management of PLU students it has grown to over $140,000. Members meet weekly in Morken 124 to discuss potential investments for the fund in different equity sectors.

The start of a new school year and finding a new job can feel overwhelming, but with some perseverance and focus, landing a part-time position can be a reality for anyone.

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